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NSF 23-081

Dear Colleague Letter: Expanding Institutional Diversity in Support of STEM Research and Education Capacity

April 3, 2023

Dear Colleague:

The health and vitality of the science and engineering enterprise requires intentional efforts to enhance the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research capacities of mission-driven institutions such as, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), as well as Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) as a means to broaden participation in the nation's STEM workforce. Data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics project that close to 4 million additional people, specifically, women, Black and African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders, are needed by 2030 to ensure that the science and engineering workforce is representative of the U.S. population (NSF Vision 2030). As such, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is committed to broadening participation in STEM and underscores the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access which it deems central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports. America's diversity is a great strength and leveraging this strength to broaden participation in the U.S. science and engineering enterprise will be crucial to fostering individual opportunity, a thriving economy, and national security.

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) highlights types of proposals that may be submitted to the following Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES) programs: Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST), Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), HBCU-Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE), and Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) to align with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (Public Law. 117-167). Section 10325 (b) of this Act authorizes the Director to support innovative approaches for building research capacity in order to engage and retain students from a range of institutions and diverse backgrounds in STEM.

Funding is available to support the following types of activities:

  1. develop or expand STEM research and education programs;
  2. recruit faculty and offer professional development, including opportunities for early-career STEM researchers;
  3. provide stipends for undergraduate and graduate students participating in STEM research and education;
  4. improve research capacity via the acquisition of instrumentation;
  5. conduct an assessment of STEM capacity-building and research infrastructure needs;
  6. aid in administrative research development; and
  7. enhance other activities necessary to build STEM research and education capacity.


The participating EES programs may accept the following types of proposals, as appropriate:

  • Planning
  • Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
  • Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)
  • Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)
  • Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)
  • Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED)
  • Conference
  • Equipment
  • Supplements to existing awards

Interested proposers must contact one of following NSF program directors to discuss program eligibility requirements and their project ideas prior to submission of a proposal. Please note that some types of proposals require written documentation of Program Officer approval to submit. It must be clear in the proposal which NSF-supported disciplines, or combination of disciplines, will be targeted.


Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST)

Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Program

Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP)

HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE)

Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)

Proposals must be prepared in accordance with the instructions contained in Chapter II.F of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) for the type of proposal being submitted and must be submitted through Proposers should select the current PAPPG (NSF 23-1) as the funding opportunity in and direct proposals to the appropriate program in the Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES) in the Directorate for STEM Education (EDU).

Proposals submitted in response to this DCL must be submitted by June 1, 2023.


James L. Moore III
Assistant Director
Directorate for STEM Education